Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stormwatch #1

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Company: DC Comics

One of the bigger revelations that has come with the new DC Relaunch is the inclusion of the characters from the Wildstorm Universe.  It's a strange move, one that instantly makes your brain go, "What?"  These characters, at least some of them, are powerful and weird, so unlike anything that you would typically find roaming the regular haunts of say Star or Opal City.  So yes, Stormwatch was one of the books that held a dozen or so questions on top of the, "Would it be good?"  That Paul (Captain Britain and MI:13) Cornell was the man at the helm of this cross-dimensional brouhaha helped though.  He's a talented story teller, one who channels a bit of Warren Ellis with clever ideas, but forgoes the bitterness and hatred of
superheroes and instead injects his stories with rampant possibilities and action.

This first issue of Stormwatch indeed covers a lot of ground.  Things happen quickly, but Cornell arms you well and never does it feel that the water comes up over your head and drown you with too much information.  It also never feels cold or off-putting, which are a few complaints that I had with the original series.  The characters of the team are introduced the best way possible, through action and the interaction with other people.  It's a great narrative device, one that obliterates the need for enormous bombs of text through thought boxes.  One of the other things that Cornell does, from page one even, is tell you the lay of the land between Stormwatch and other teams like the Justice League.  It seems that they are the big brother of the world, always watching, always acting, but never being seen.

The items at hand with this specific issue are as follows:  Head hunting a new member for the team, the appearance of a alien artifact, and the Awakening of the Moon.  It sounds like a lot to put into a 20 page comic, but once Cornell slams down on the gas pedal of this thing, he never lets up.  The other thing done well in this issue is the way that the characters are handled.  His depiction of Jack Hawksmoor, the team leader, is on par with what you'd expect and what we've seen before.  The characters that were a surprise were Martian Manhunter and a brand new one named Projectionist, a woman with an alien computer node in her brain that allows her to manipulate and search the Internet.  Having Martian Manhunter on the team is a bold move, as it seemingly alienates him from his traditional roots, but it also makes a ton of sense if you really sit down and think about though.  Also, that problem is referenced and is quite good.  Still, we don't get a ton of backstory for these guys just yet, but you can tell it's there.

Miguel (Thanos Imperative/Thunderbolts/Legion of Doom) Sepulveda's artwork is a bit hit and miss with me though.  There is a slickness to it, for sure, one that elicits a solid enough vibe.  That said, that slickness leads to a feeling of glossiness that feels strange.  There are also some inconsistencies and moments where what is happening on the page isn't quite as clear as it could be.  This may be due in part to Allen Passalaqua's colors, as Sepulveda's black and white art (seen above), is so strong.  I will though that there are jaw dropping moments inside this issue, great splashes of aliens and action that really do make you just want to sit back and let the moment wash over you.

All in all, a decent start that puts forth some fun ideas that should be interesting to see play out.  At this point, I have faith in Cornell that that will happen.  If this book can keep it up, I believe high class Sci-Fi/Action entertainment shall be had.

This is an advance review.  Stormwatch #1 will hit comic stands this Wednesday 09/07/11.

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